From Fabrics to Finances: Upholstery Startup Costs

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Upholstery services are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to restore old furniture, customize seats and mattress cases, and generally spruce up their homes. From living rooms to cars, boats and even planes, upholstery restoration is now commonly used for everything from old dealerships to those who want to give their furniture a whole new look. At present, the tapestry industry is growing at a steady pace and showing no signs of slowing down.

If you want to start your own upholstery service, you might be curious how much it will cost to get started. Well, although the total cost varies depending on the type of upholstery services you intend to offer, there are several unique expenses associated with upholstery that you should be aware of.


Start-up costs

Starting an upholstery service requires a few start-up costs that need to be considered when calculating the total budget. Startup costs can include furniture and materials, large-scale tools, legal and professional fees, software and technology, advertising and promotion, insurance and licensing, leasehold improvements, labor costs labor and equipment services and maintenance.

Furniture and materials ,000 – ,000
Large scale tools 0 – ,000
Legal and professional fees 0 – ,500
Software and Technology 0 – ,500
Advertising and promotion 0 – ,000
Insurance and licenses 0 – ,000
Lease Improvements ,000 – ,000
Labor costs ,000 – ,000
Equipment services and maintenance 0 – ,000
Total ,400 – ,500

Ultimately, the total cost to open an upholstery service can be between ,400 and ,500.

Furniture and materials

Opening a furniture department requires a wide range of furniture and materials. The exact costs of opening a furniture service will depend on the type of materials and furniture you need, and the quantity and quality of those items. Some of the items associated with starting an upholstery service include:

  • Fabric: Fabric is one of the most important materials you will need to start an upholstery service. According to Fabric Resource, average fabric prices range from to depending on quality and type.
  • Foam: Foam provides cushioning and support for furniture, and comes in sheets, rolls, and even custom cuts. Most upholstery foam materials cost around per yard.
  • Tools: To make upholstery properly, you will need some specific tools. Price range for tools such as scissors, AWLS, webbing stretcher, attack hammer, and upholstery adaptation puller can range from to 5.
  • Thread: You will need to purchase thread to do any stuffing. The thread usually ranges from to for a roll.
  • Furniture: You must provide your own furniture or rent furniture from others. Furniture typically costs several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
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These are just some of the things you need to consider when determining the cost of starting a home furnishing service. The furniture and materials needed to open an upholstery service can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the items purchased.

Large scale tools

When starting an upholstery service, one of the costs to consider are those associated with the large-scale tools needed to run a successful business. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these tools can increase costs by ,000 and ,000 , depending on the type of service provided and the size of the shop.

A typical large-scale tool arsenal may include:

  • Industrial sewing machines: ,000 to ,000
  • STEATHERS: 0 to ,000
  • Pressure cleaning systems: ,000 to ,000
  • Cutting equipment, such as saws and routers: 0 to ,500
  • Conveyor systems: ,000 to ,000

These tool costs do not take into account other costs associated with starting a business, such as filing business documents, obtaining a business license, and deciding the type of business structure in which you operate.

The cost of large-scale tools also increases depending on the type of materials you will be working with, the size of your shop, and the type and size of projects you intend to take on.

Legal and professional fees

Opening an upholstery service has its share of legal and professional costs. Depending on where you live, the cost of obtaining your furniture business license, filing a fictitious business name, registering for your state and local business taxes, and incorporating of your business can add up quickly. According to the Small Business Administration, the typical total cost of these legal fees can range from to ,000, including legal fees.

Businesses that are physically present in a state must register with the state’s secretary of state in order to legally establish themselves. Depending on the state, it can cost around to 0. Additionally, if a business registers a fictitious business name, there will also be an additional fee, usually around , depending on the state.

When starting a business, it is often recommended to register to pay income taxes. Registering your business with the IRS is a one-time fee of . Your business may also need to register with the state to pay state taxes depending on where you live, which incurs additional costs.

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If you wish to incorporate your business, you will need to register as a corporation, limited liability company or other appropriate business structure. This may be necessary to protect personal assets from commercial liability. The cost of incorporating your business can range from 0 to 0, depending on the state.

Once you have formed your business, you may want to work with a lawyer and/or accountant for any legal or tax advice. These services have additional charges. These professionals can provide advice to help you start a business and understand how to stay compliant with industry regulations.

In addition to legal and professional fees, you may need to pay additional fees to create a website and promote your home furnishing service. This may include registration and hosting fees, design fees, and marketing fees. The costs of these services can vary considerably, depending on the scope of work required.

Software and technology costs

When opening a new upholstery service, important costs to consider include software and technology expenses. Before you start your business, you need to invest in the right software and technology to keep your operations running smoothly. This may include software, hardware, wireless networks and other technological tools.

Software: Depending on the size of your business, you may be looking at hundreds or even thousands of software expenses. Examples of software you may be able to include include word processing programs, accounting software, and even custom furniture designs. These software solutions range from free to hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in cost.

Hardware: Depending on the size of your business, you may need to purchase computers, tablets, POS terminals, and other hardware items. Equipment prices can range with basic equipment for an upholstery service starting around 0 and professional equipment beyond ,000.

Networking tools: If you need to connect multiple computers and devices, you will also need to invest in networking tools. This may include local routers, Wi-Fi access points, etc. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars depending on the size and type of configuration you need.

Maintenance: Don’t forget to factor in the cost of ongoing maintenance. This can include regular maintenance contracts or even on-call emergency services. Maintenance costs can range from a few hundred to even thousands of dollars per month depending on the complexity of the systems used in your upholstery department.

Advertising and promotion

Advertising and promotion can play a major role in the success of any small business, including a home furnishing service. Without an effective marketing strategy, your business may not attract enough new customers and will struggle to compete in the market. How much should you budget for advertising and promotion when launching your furniture business?

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According to the United States Small Business Administration, marketing costs should be 7-8% of your annual gross sales, depending on the size and local market conditions of your furniture business. This means that for a startup siding with estimated gross sales of 0,000, the budget for advertising and promotion could range from ,500 to ,000.

Your exact budget for advertising and promotion will depend on the types of media activities and platforms you choose to implement. A few potential money-saving strategies include the following:

  • Social Media: You can take advantage of all free social media platforms to promote your business. Using a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube can be an effective way to spread the word about your services at little or no cost.
  • Word of Mouth: Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth; It’s still one of the most effective ways to attract new business. Encourage customers and family members to leave reviews of your business on social media and create a referral program to get them to spread the word.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Develop relationships with local businesses and organizations that could refer clients to your services. Developing a relationship with a local furniture store, for example, could generate stable referral business.

Although you want to stay within your budget for advertising and promotion, it is important to invest in these activities so that you can increase brand awareness and attract new customers. As you continue to grow your business, you may want to consider allocating a larger percentage of your annual budget to promoting your furniture services.

Insurance and licenses

When you are in the business of reupholstering furniture, there are certain types of insurance and licenses that you must obtain to protect yourself and your business. The type of insurance coverage and amount will vary depending on the type and size of your business and the products you work with.

Liability coverage is one of the most important types of insurance when it comes to furniture service. It is used to cover damages that occur as a result of negligence. This type of insurance will cover both bodily injury and property damage. Liability cost coverage will depend on the size and scope of your business and your location. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from 0 to 00 per year for liability insurance.

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Property Damage Coverage is also important for home furnishing service owners. This type of insurance covers your company’s physical assets in the event of an accident or other incident that results in damage or destruction of equipment or inventory. Depending on the type of business, you may also need to obtain renters or business owners insurance to provide coverage for offices or storage facilities. The average cost of property damage insurance can range from 0 to 00 per year.

Another cost you will need to consider when opening an upholstery service is licensing fees . Depending on your state, county, and city, you’ll likely need to obtain a business license before you begin. Fees for this license can range from 0 to 0 depending on location and type of business. You may need to obtain additional licenses in order to use certain chemicals or materials. Additional license fees will vary based on local regulations.

Overall, the cost of insurance and licensing for a furniture service can range from 0 to 00 per year. This cost is in addition to the cost of materials, tools, and other supplies needed to set up and run the business. It is important to budget for insurance and license fees, as these are necessary to protect you, your business and your customers.

Lease Improvements

One of the biggest costs associated with starting a new upholstery service is leasehold improvements. It refers to the physical changes and structural improvements made to a rental property for the benefit of a particular commercial or dining experience. The cost of leasehold improvements will depend primarily on the size of the space you are renting, as well as the materials and equipment you wish to install. For example, there will be a cost associated with furniture, lighting, flooring, paint, wiring, and machinery.

According to the US Government Census Bureau (2016), the average cost of leasehold improvements is approximately per square foot . This cost can vary greatly depending on the type of improvements made, such as structural changes like adding walls or plumbing, or decorative updates like painting and carpeting. It is also important to consider the cost of furniture, fixtures and equipment when calculating lease improvement costs.

When budgeting for leasehold improvements, it is important to be aware of all associated costs. This includes installation and license fees, permits, insurance, contractor fees, and taxes or miscellaneous costs that may be associated with the project. Additionally, if you operate a business in a commercial space, such as a furniture service, you may also need to consider the cost of protective equipment, such as safety equipment and machinery.

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Thorough budgeting is essential to ensure that you will have the funds available to cover all associated costs. It’s also important to consider the potential return on investment before committing. By factoring in the cost of leasehold improvements, you can ensure that you stay within your budget and maximize the benefits of operating a furniture service.

Labor costs

Labor expenses are one of the most important aspects of starting an upholstery business. The cost of hiring workers, purchasing materials, and managing payroll are just a few of the indirect costs that need to be considered when budgeting for a new business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median wage for upholsterers was .09 per hour in May 2019.

The cost of hiring employees is perhaps the biggest labor expense. Depending on their level of expertise and the type of upholstery service you offer, upholsterers generally require a minimum of a few years of work experience to consider. The cost of hiring an experienced upholsterer or even a team of upholsterers will vary depending on location, industry demand, and the type of upholstery services you offer. For example, a team of five experienced upholsterers with the necessary training and deployment skills could expect to earn a median hourly wage of .27 per hour .

In addition to paying employees, other labor expenses include purchasing materials, tools, and purchasing equipment. Depending on the type of upholstery services you offer, you may need to purchase fabrics, yarn, stuffing, tools, and supplies. Some business owners choose to buy their tools and materials in bulk to cut costs. The cost of these materials will vary depending on the quality and quantity purchased. For example, a roll of upholstery fabric typically costs per yard.

Finally, you will need to consider payroll and labor costs when budgeting for an upholstery business. Depending on the size of your business, you may need to hire a team of employees or just one sole proprietor to handle all of the upholstery tasks. You will need to consider wages, payroll taxes, health insurance, and any other employment laws. You will also need to consider overtime pay, vacation and sick days when setting your budget.

Equipment services and maintenance

When it comes to starting an upholstery service, the cost of the equipment and services needed to get it up and running should be considered. Depending on the size of the business and the type of furniture equipment used, the cost of services and maintenance can range from moderate to quite expensive. However, investing in the proper and regular maintenance of any furniture machinery is essential to keeping a business running smoothly.

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Tools and Materials – Considering the tools and materials needed when starting an upholstery service, the approximate cost could range from 00 to 00. Basic upholstery tools such as a sewing machine, cutting tools, hammers, nails, screws and scissors are essential for any upholstery business. Those who opt for more advanced or industrial equipment, or materials such as foam, fabric or springs may incur a higher cost.

Equipment repair and maintenance – Upholstery equipment requires regular repair and maintenance, which will also add to the expense. The cost of these services is usually calculated hourly and can range from to 0 per hour. In addition to repair and maintenance costs, businesses may have to pay to upgrade or replace outdated machines, which could significantly increase costs.

Insurance and Safety – Insurance protection for the upholstery industry is necessary to cover damage caused by accidents or natural disasters. Additionally, having a secure storage area for tools and materials is essential for a smooth operation. Therefore, security and insurance services can cost anywhere from 0 to 00 per year depending on the type of coverage opted for.

Latest statistical information on equipment services and maintenance costs in the United States – According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average cost of equipment services and maintenance in the United States for January 2021 is .67 per hour. In terms of annual maintenance and repair costs, the BLS estimated an average of 3,000 .


Starting a professional upholstery business can be expensive up-front, but with the right materials, equipment, legal and professional fees, software, advertising, and other necessary investments, your upholstery business could easily start. Depending on the type of upholstery service you offer and the quality of materials and tools you use, start-up costs can range from ,000 to ,000 or more . Once you get your business up and running, you often have a steady stream of revenue and the ability to bill customers for services.

By taking the time and effort to examine the upholstery industry, you should have a better idea of what it involves and how to settle. Doing your research and budgeting accordingly will help you get the most out of your upholstery business.